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New York Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

Companion Resource


Building with Apples

This STEM-based activity incorporates math (exploring dimensional spaces and problem solving) and art, as the students are encouraged to apply their creativity to come up with a unique design in form using apples and toothpicks.

  • Apples cut into small pieces
  • Toothpicks, at least 15 per student
  • Paper plates, 1 per student
  • Plastic knives for students to adjust the size of their apple pieces (optional)
  • Wax paper or paper towel for base (optional)

Teacher Note: Wash hands and sanitize desks prior to this activity, then apples can be eaten after building. Students may also build on top of a sheet of wax paper or paper towel if you prefer not to work directly on the surface.

  1. Demonstrate the basic building process—sticking apple pieces to the ends of toothpicks, then building upward or outward. Explore and explain 2D vs. 3D structures.
  2. Have the class develop challenge criteria. Examples include, the structure must be at least 6 inches high and 6 inches wide, you can only use 10 apple chunks and 15 toothpicks, etc.
  3. Encourage the students to get creative and build.
  4. After the structures have been built, facilitate a gallery walk that allows all groups to showcase their structures, share how they developed the idea, and communicate what changes they might make if they had another chance to build with apples.

Katya Wesely

Midwest Food Connection
Lessons Associated with this Resource